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Roger Clarke's 'Open Business Models'

Open Source and Open Content as Models for e-Business

Roger Clarke

Principal, Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra

Visiting Professor, Baker & McKenzie Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre, University of N.S.W.

Visiting Fellow, Department of Computer Science, Australian National University

Expert Address to the ECOM-ICOM Programme of the University of Hong Kong, 25 September 2003

Version of 25 September 2003

© Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, 2003

This document is at

The PowerPoint slide-set is at


The search for viable e-business models continues to be the Holy Grail in the business world, here in Hong Kong and overseas. But important information is being overlooked. Scant attention is being paid to the open source software movement, except for the occasional news items about how the big boys such as Microsoft are wary of the little Linux penguin. Similarly, we mostly overlook how much text, image and sound content is readily available, rather than being constrained by tight copyright clauses.

This neglect has resulted in the business world not really understanding how open models are working in those organisations that have been variously visionary enough and foolhardy enough to adopt them. This is regrettable. We unquestioningly assume that value-exchange in markets is immediate and reciprocal, and that buyer and seller swap items of value there and then. But in practice some markets already feature deferred reciprocity, and indirect reciprocity

Open source and open content are not naïve, 'gift' economies, but rather harbingers of a new wave of business activity that transcends naive economic rationalism, and deserves serious study by e-business leaders.

Underlying Papers

Clarke R. (2003) 'Copyright: The Spectrum of Content Licensing', July 2003, at

Clarke R. (2003) 'Open Source Licensing', rev. September 2003, at

Speaker Profile

Roger Clarke is a consultant with particular expertise in electronic business, information infrastructure, and dataveillance and privacy. His work encompasses corporate strategy, government policy and public advocacy.

He has spent over 30 years in the I.T. industry, in Sydney, London, Zürich and Canberra, as professional, manager, academic, consultant and company Director and Chair. He holds degrees in Information Systems (MIS) from U.N.S.W., and a doctorate from the A.N.U.

He spent a decade as a senior academic at the Australian National University. Since returning to full-time consultancy in 1995, he has retained his association with that university's Department of Computer Science. He is also currently a Visiting Professor in the ECOM-ICOM Programme at the University of Hong Kong, and in the Baker & McKenzie Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre at the University of N.S.W. in Sydney. He also sustains connections in Europe.

He has published scores of papers. All of them since 1995 are available at his community service site, which attracts over 2 million hits per annum. In addition to departments on eBusiness, information infrastructure, and dataveillance and privacy, the site also provides the world's most authoritative pages on 'Waltzing Matilda'.

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The content and infrastructure for these community service pages are provided by Roger Clarke through his consultancy company, Xamax.

From the site's beginnings in August 1994 until February 2009, the infrastructure was provided by the Australian National University. During that time, the site accumulated close to 30 million hits. It passed 65 million in early 2021.

Sponsored by the Gallery, Bunhybee Grasslands, the extended Clarke Family, Knights of the Spatchcock and their drummer
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd
ACN: 002 360 456
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Tel: +61 2 6288 6916

Created: 20 September 2003 - Last Amended: 25 September 2003 by Roger Clarke - Site Last Verified: 15 February 2009
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